Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Mental health resources for someone I know

3-minute read

Do you know someone who seems to be struggling with life?

If a friend or family member does not appear to be coping too well, they may be struggling with mental health issues and might need some help.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things that can be done and organisations that can provide support.

What is mental health and why is it important?

The term 'mental health' refers to your state of mind. Good mental health is a general sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem.

Good mental health is important. This is not just so we can get through the day, but so we can form healthy relationships with others, and fully enjoy and appreciate life. If someone's mental health is suffering, they may find it hard to cope with the demands of daily life. Worse still, they may be at risk of self-harm, or in extreme cases, even suicide.

Mental health should always be taken seriously. If you know someone experiencing mental health issues, reaching out to help them could be the best thing you can do.

Common mental health issues

Many people experience mental health issues at some point in their life. For example, they may have issues with self-esteem, drugs and alcohol, relationships or sexual abuse.

However, ongoing mental health issues can be a sign of a mental illness. Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, have a bigger impact on thoughts, feelings and behaviour than other mental health issues.

Some of the most common mental illnesses are:

How to help someone with a mental illness

If you are concerned that a friend or family member may be suffering from a mental illness, you might like to try talking to them about it. Mental health is not necessarily an easy or comfortable topic of conversation, so it may help to first find out some of the do's and don'ts of discussing mental health issues.

You can also suggest that they talk to their doctor or see a mental health professional. It may help if you offer to go with them. If they do not want to speak with someone, you might try giving them some written information, like a printout from a trusted and credible website (such as those listed below).

Where to get help

If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help:

  • SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) – call 1800 18 7263.
  • beyondblue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) – call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
  • Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) – online help.
  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) – call 13 11 14 or chat online.
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) – call 1300 659 467.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Training and resources

Find resources and training that can help improve your knowledge and capabilities on mental health in the workplace

Read more on beyondblue website

Welcome to Statewide Mental Health Services | Mental Health

Statewide Mental Health Services is a key clinical service stream of the Tasmanian Health Service

Read more on Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services website

Resource library

The Children of Parents with a Mental Illness national initiative (COPMI) creates mental health information and resources for Australian parents with mental illness and mental health problems, their children, families, carers and health professionals who work with them.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Mental health emergency

There is a range of mental health services available to provide support and immediate response to people in crisis or in need of urgent medical care.

Read more on WA Health website

Translated mental health resources

Call 1300 22 4636 24 hours a day / 7 days a week

Read more on beyondblue website

Defence resources | At Ease

The Department of Defence provides a comprehensive range of mental health-related fact sheets.

Read more on Department of Veterans' Affairs website

Mental health | Australian Government Department of Health

A persons mental health affects how they feel, think, behave and relate to others. Mental illness covers a spectrum of disorders that vary in how severe they are and how long they last. Find out what were doing to improve mental health services and prevent mental illness in Australia.

Read more on Department of Health website

What Mind does | Mind Australia

Mind Australia Limited is one of the country's leading community-managed specialist mental health service providers. We have been supporting people dealing with the day-to-day impacts of mental illness, as well as their families, friends and carers for 40 years.

Read more on Mind Australia website

Western Australia - BluePages

Find help in Western Australia.

Read more on e-hub Web Services - Australian National University (ANU) website

Northern Territory - BluePages

Find help in the Northern Territory.

Read more on e-hub Web Services - Australian National University (ANU) website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo